Sunday, March 8, 2009

Upcoming Events

Community Roots, Healthy Food for All: A Panel Discussion on Food Justice

Tuesday, March 10, 2009
7 pm to 9 pm
Mercury Cafe
2199 California Street
Denver Co
$5 donation suggested

Food brings us together. The lack of food destroy the fabric of families and communities. How do we grow healthy food and community that reflects our cultural and family roots? How do we create a community-led sustainable movement toward local food and local economy? Join a discussion on how to create healthy, affordable food for all in the Denver Community. Transition Denver is sponsoring this event and panelists include:
  • Adrienna Corrales, Project Coordinator and Community Health Educator for Sisters of Color United for Education.
  • Akwe Starnes, an educator at CSU's Extension Program and an elder in our community that shares various reasons to move toward a raw plant based diet, its affects on the earth, its value nutritionally and within this economic climate.
  • Ashara Ekundayo, an award-winning producer, curator, media activist, social networking groupie, and the owner of BluBlak Media – a Denver, CO based independent production and consulting company.
  • Faatma Mehrmanesh sits on the Board of Directors of the Mile High Business Alliance and plans to change the face of business by opening a community owned and operated cafe in Denver’s own Historic Five Points Neighborhood.
  • Marilyn Meginity, proprietor of the colorful Mercury Café and passionate advocate for local foods and community.
  • Shannon Francis is the Indigenous Agricultural Instructor/Coordinator at Woodbine Ecology Center located in Sedalia, Colorado.

Intro to Neighborhood Supported Agriculture - Kipp Nash, Community Roots

Monday, March 16, 2009
6 pm to 9 pm
$25.00 Fee
Denver Botanic Gardens, Classroom B
1005 York Street, Denver, CO

Transition Denver is sponsoring this event, designed to present an innovative approach to neighborhood farming that involves the neighbors in the process. Kipp Nash has devoted three years to developing a unique way of bringing the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model to his South Boulder, Colorado neighborhood. Kipp utilizes the available land (often his neighbors' front and back yards) in Martin Acres to raise organically-grown produce, which is then sold to his neighbors in Martin Acres and in Farmer's Markets. Interest in this model of local food production and community development is growing (pun intended) like crazy and Kipp is one of the first to start sharing his project, dreams and ideas with others. To register, please email or call: David Greenwald at degreenwald 303-926-0503

National Ag Week, March 15-20
Colorado Celebrates National Ag Week March 18
1:00 p.m. Press Conference on the west steps of the Capitol in Denver

This month, Americans will celebrate National Ag Day on March 20. National Ag Day is about recognizing the contribution of agriculture in our everyday lives and the important role our local ranchers and growers play in the lives of those in our communities and around the globe.

An Educational Evening with Slow Food Denver and the Mujeres de Maiz (Women of the Corn) Project
Monday March 23
5:30pm - 7:30pm
Home of Elayne Gallagher
2001 Lincoln Street (triangle at Welton, 20th and Broadway - 2 1/2 blocks walking from 16th Street Mall)
No charge (Slow Food members and non-members invited!)

Slow Food Denver is sponsoring an open house given by two of its members, Jan Webster and Elayne Gallager, to learn about an exciting project they are working on in Chiapas, Mexico. Elayne is a board member of Starfish, a Colorado organization working with indigenous women in Guatemala and Chiapas, Mexico. The project is called Mujeres de Maiz (Women of the Corn) and the goals are to raise the production and the consumption of native organic corn and to improve the standard of living, dignity and nutrition standards of these indigenous women, their families and communities. Please RSVP to by Wednesday March 18.

3rd Annual Rocky Mountain Compost School
April 14-17, 2009
Cost: $495

The school is hosted by Colorado State University's Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, and includes four days of classroom and field instruction for large-scale composters highlighting issues of local and national interest. Certified Crop Adviser continuing education units have been designated for participation in Compost School. For specific questions or more information, please contact: Adriane Elliott, (970) 491-6984,

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Signs of Spring

When I was a little girl, my grandmother used to read me a story about the swallows of Capistrano -- how they left the little village every fall to migrate south, taking the sunshine and warm weather with them. Throughout the winter, the villagers yearned for the day the swallows would return, bringing back longer, warmer days and the promise of new life. In the story, the swallows finally come back after a long winter. The gardener of the local mission church rings the church bells to let the people of Capistrano know the swallows are back, and everyone gets together for a huge celebration to welcome the swallows home.

My own long winter is over.

January through March is the busiest time in my day job, and I have been consumed with that work. (Hence the long delay between postings.) We've also had family issues that have kept us busy -- a daughter with a medical emergency in Kansas City, and a medical scare with my Dad in Springfield, Illinois.

Last week, we had our own little harbinger of Spring.

We were in the midwest, visiting my daughter and then my Dad, in 30 degree weather; the grey skies pressing down; the snow dancing sideways on the highways in the wind -- and coldest of all, our fears for everyone's safety.

My parents have a huge holly tree growing by their front door. As we walked past it going to and from the hospital, I noticed that it was loaded with red berries -- a bold splash of color in an otherwise dreary landscape. As it turns out, our daughter is OK. Dad's OK, too. They fixed him up with medication and sent him home.

As we walked up to the front door, the holly tree was shaking, as if consumed by the holy spirit, and we could see that it was literally filled with robins -- fifty or more, maybe a hundred -- happily munching berries to celebrate their return to the midwest.

My family is fine. The robins are back in the midwest. We're back in Colorado and I have crocuses blooming in my garden.

The bells in my heart are pealing like laughter.

Just like the swallows, I'm back.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Don't Miss This Event Next Tuesday

“Eat Here Now–Growing Food in Denver”
A Panel on the Growth of Urban Agriculture

Come join a few “movers and shakers” in the local food movement, and explore answers to some of the following questions: What is Community Supported Agriculture, and how is it playing out within the city limits? How can we grow more healthy food locally and get it distributed in effective ways? How can we use gardening techniques that are affordable, sustainable and use less resources? And much, much more……..

Panelists include:
Andy Nowak – Slow Food Denver
Ellen Rosenthal – Living Earth Center
Lisa Rogers and Tom Sorenson – Feed Denver
Faatma Mahremanesh – Solarlivity
James Hale – Produce Denver
Debbie Dalrymple - Sense of Colorado
Jim Sincock – Rocky Mountain Grower’s Directory

WHEN: Tuesday, January 13 from 7-9 p.m.
WHERE: At the Mercury Café
2155 California St., Denver
COST: There is a $5 suggested donation.

Sponsored by:

Transition Denver is a group of local citizens who have joined the rapidly-growing, worldwide Transition Initiative Movement . Transition Initiatives empower communities from the grassroots level to squarely face the challenges of peak oil, climate change and financial instability and find ways to collectively and drastically reduce carbon emissions, significantly rebuild resilience and strengthen our local economies.

This event is one of a series of Transition Denver events called Transition Fridays. Contact Dana Miller at 303-300-3547 for details, or visit for information about this event or about Transition Denver, as well as the other Transition Initiatives springing up in Colorado and other cities around the United States.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Two Great Books to Read in the New Year

OK -- so you’ve received a slew of seed catalogs, ordered your seeds for 2009, and now what? It’s too early to plant -- even if you start seeds indoors. The days are getting longer – and in between bouts of snow and freezing temperatures, we’re seeing sunny, warm, glistening days that tease and tempt us with the prospect of spring.

What’s a gardener to do?

Here are two books that will serve as inspiration while winter plays itself out.

Food Not Lawns, How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community
by H.C. Flores

Food Not Lawns is a great book to get you through the next few weeks. It’s a bit of a rant, written by activist and urban gardener H.C. Flores, but it’s also a comprehensive guide on how to start your own garden, whether you live in an apartment, in the ‘burbs, or in an inner city environment. According to Flores, “The average American lawn could produce several hundred pounds of food a year."

Flores is a certified permaculture designer, promoting a sustainable way of landscaping inspired by natural eco-systems. Food Not Lawns presents a nine-step plan to help readers “build fertile soil, raise their own food, promote biodiversity and increase natural habitat.” But it’s also more than that. As Flores says, “This book is about how to be healthier and more self-reliant, and thus improve the ecological integrity of the community you live in, through growing diverse organic gardens and sharing the surplus.”

Flores begins with a bit of her own history – growing up in suburban L.A. in the 1980s and evolving into a full time activist via Food Not Bombs. Ultimately, she joined with friends to start Food Not Lawns. The book advances her message by providing a “how-to” guide, with tips on finding garden space, securing water, improving the soil, and designing a garden paradise using sound ecological principles. Equally as important, it offers suggestions on how to use your garden as a catalyst to improve your own life and your community.

You can order Food Not Lawns through the link below:

This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader
by Joan Dye Gussow

Another of my favorite books is This Organic Life by Joan Dye Gussow. She’s an icon in the local foods movement, having served as an overseer of the Chef’s Collaborative; as chair & professor emeritus (nutrition), Columbia University Teachers College; as director of the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation; and as an advisory board member, for the Center for Food Safety and Ecology Action.

This Organic Life chronicles her gardening experiences -- self described as “a decades-long journey to vegetal self sufficiency” -- which culminate in the purchase of a dilapidated Odd Fellows Hall on the banks of the Hudson River in Piedmont, NY. There, she and her husband set about to eat only what they grow. Gussow’s accounts of the "renovation" of the house and the creation of their gardens are heart warming and funny, seasoned with journal and letter extracts, fabulous recipes using garden fresh produce, and serious musings on what’s wrong with the traditional agricultural system. Gussow takes the philosophical task of eating locally and makes it intensely personal: challenging, entertaining, satisfying, flavorful and fun.

You can order This Organic Life via the link below.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Crisis = Change = Opportunity

Given the fallout in our global financial markets and a new administration in Washington, we have a small window of opportunity to advocate for meaningful change in our agricultural system.

Here are two ways you can make your wishes known to the the administration:
  • If you would like to encourage President-elect Obama to choose sustainably minded Under Secretaries in the new USDA, please sign this grassroots petition from Food Democracy Now. This one is time sensitive, so act now!
  • If you'd like to endorse a set of principles to create a national sustainable food and agriculture policy, check out Food Declaration.Org.

Pass these along to everyone you know. If we can garner a million signatures or more, folks in Washinston will have to sit up and take notice.